The Measurements units style guide, published by UKMA in 2012, is now available on line with an index. In this article, we outline the purpose of the Guide and note recent enhancements.
There has long been a divide in British education after the age of 16 between arts and science. Those who can write, often can’t do sums or measure. And those who can use numbers to solve problems are often unable to write about their achievements. Add this to the ‘make it up as you go along’ nature of old measures and the stage is set for confusion and muddle when writers come to put metric measurement units into their work.
This may have been in the minds of the authors of the UKMA Style Guide. Its purpose, when first published, was to encourage the correct usage of metric measurement units. It was printed on card and distributed to national and local newspapers throughout the UK, with mixed results. It was also made available for download from the UKMA web site.
Recently, an interactive index has been added for those wishing to search for particular letters, words or topics. It remains possible to download the original Guide or to order a printed copy. Further information may be found on the UKMA web site:
So, even if you prefer arts to science and writing to measuring and calculating, you have no excuse for misunderstandings when it comes to using metric measures. Follow the Style Guide and your meaning should be clear and there could be less risk of confusion.